Homemade Paneer

We love Indian food in our house. Back in my college days, I lived right in the heart of “Curry Hill” in New York. Living along a corridor of fantastic kosher and Indian restaurants, I had the opportunity to discover my palate for Indian food. I don’t think I had ever had authentic Indian food until I moved to New York. Dining at local Indian places was far better than any of the other kosher options in the neighborhood. One of the first dishes I tried was mutter paneer. It’s a curry dish made up of peas and the special Indian cheese called paneer. From there, I samples a variety of dishes and have made a variety of Indian dishes in my home. Had never tried making paneer dishes at home. You can’t find paneer cheese with a kosher symbol. It never occurred to me that I could make it. Finally, one day, I came across a couple blogs that discussed paneer. All it contains is milk and lemon juice! Whoa! Who knew it could be that easy to make. I quickly picked up some cheesecloth and got to work.

Paneer
Ingredients:

1/2 gallon of whole milk = 8 cups
3-4 tbsp. lemon juice

Before you get to working on the stove, get your strainer and cheesecloth ready. Set the strainer in the sink and line it with some cheese cloth. You may need to double layer the cheesecloth, depending on how big the holes are.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat up the milk. Bring the milk to a boil, but don’t let it boil over.

When the milk starts to boil, turn off the heat.

Start by stirring in about 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Keep stirring and you should see the milk start to curdle. If it’s not doing it’s curdling job, add some more lemon juice. I needed a bit over 3 tablespoons total.

Keep stirring the curdles.  Pour the curdy cheese mixture in to the cheesecloth-lined strainer.

At this point, the mixture is a bit like a dryer cottage cheese or ricotta cheese. This is also a good point to add a little bit of salt. The cheese is pretty bland on it’s town.

Pull up the size of the cheese cloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible, while forming the mound of cheese in to a disc shape.

Now it’s time to press the liquid out of the cheese. I like to press the liquid out similar to the way I press the water out of tofu.

Place the lined cheese on a rimmed plate and place a heavy plate on top of it. Weigh it down with a heavy can or two. Press the cheese for an hour – pouring off the liquid when needed.

When completely drained, you will have this lovely disc of cheese. Cut it up however you’d like and use it in a variety of meals. We had it in our palak paneer!

Enjoy!

Coffee Oreo Ice Cream

coffee-oreo-ice-cream

The title says it all. How could you go wrong with coffee oreo ice cream? It was a dairy holiday, with the weather warming up. Ice cream had to make it on the menu. I first sampled this flavor either at Sebastian Joe’s in Minneapolis, or Max & Mina’s in Queens. Either way, it’s the perfect flavor combo and I was determined to make it my own.

Around 5 years ago, I received this handy dandy Cuisinart ice cream maker as a token of appreciation for doing some product research stuff. I used to do various focus groups and product testing in my “free time.” My love of kitchen appliances brought me this baby. I think I can count on my hands the number of times I have actually used this appliance. It averages out to two times a summer. Making ice cream is so easy. Not necessarily cheaper than buying it though. Still, it’s wonderful when it’s homemade and Shavuot calls for yummy, delicious, homemade ice cream.

Coffee-Oreo Ice Cream
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert, Ice Cream, Frozen

Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • ¼ cup very strong coffee/espresso (ice cold)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extra
  • broken up sandwich cookies (I used Trader Joe’s chocolate Joe Joe’s) – About 20 or so, maybe more.

Instructions
  1. In a bowl, whisk the milk, sugar, coffee, and espresso powder to combine.
  2. Whisk in the heavy cream and the vanilla.
  3. Pour into the ice cream maker. Turn the machine on.
  4. Let it run a good 20 minutes.
  5. Watch it thicken up and turn into ice cream.
  6. Toss in the cookie pieces. Let it run another 5-10 minutes.
  7. When done, it will be like soft ice cream. Think Carvel. You can enjoy it now, or you can let it freeze and harden a bit more. Enjoy!

coffee-oreo-ice-cream

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